From the Screaming Dark: Counihan Gallery

Chris Bond

1 - 30 Jun 2009

A group exhibition of artists responding to the work of Australian artist Noel Counihan, curated by Edwina Bartlem. ‘From the Screaming Dark: Abstraction and Metaphysics in Noel Counihan’s Miners’ is an elaborate fictional installation that at first glance appears to have been abandoned mid-way through completion. A sign at the front of the unlit installation simply reads, ‘This exhibition is closed until further notice. We apologise for any inconvenience.’ Inspired by Noel Counihan’s The Cough… stone dust, an image which depicts a silicosis affected miner seemingly turned to rock, ‘From the Screaming Dark’ takes a conceptual leap from this image of ingestion, translating it into a pitch-black room which appears to have partially swallowed and then spat out an exhibition. Presented by the fictional ‘Wonthaggi Modern Art Society’ (Wonthaggi was the site where Noel Counihan made preliminary drawings for his Miners series), the exhibition looks like a tourist attraction closed for repair. The reasons for its abandonment remain obscure, yet disturbing in detail – blackened and dismembered pieces of exhibition equipment are strewn across the installation, white rectangles on the black-painted walls suggest spaces for (missing) artworks to be hung, and objects painted in greyscale tones appear to melt into the wall and floor. A giant chopped-up map of Wonthaggi lies in a pile of shards in a dark corner. All touched by a sense of loss, emptiness and despair.